Children in El Salvador. Photo: Contributed

UBCO prof supports his homeland

El Salvador immigrants assists Central America social causes

An illusionist from Mexico is coming to the Okanagan to perform his magic act in support of a Kelowna-based non-profit humanitarian group.

Sustaita The Great will perform in support of the Canadian Global Society on Friday, June 15, 7 p.m., at the Okanagan College theatre.

Hugo De Burgos, a medical anthropologist professor at UBC Okanagan, founded the society with his wife Cecilia Guillen, both of whom are from El Salvador.

He said the couple, with the support of their two kids, started out on a smaller scale within the university buying or accepting donated used textbooks from students and selling them back to the UBCO bookstore for recirculation. Last weekend, they organized a garage sale fundraiser.

“We chose to create a non-profit society so to open up the possibility of support to more people for financial and in-kind contributions to health, education, cultural, agriculture, social, artistic, sport and environment community-based projects, as well as to provide aid through local Central America organizations to care and find homes for abandoned animals,” said De Burgos.

This year’s efforts, De Burgos said, are to help abandoned elderly people in El Salvador and to assist organizations helping abandoned dogs.

Past projects supported by their efforts have included donated computers, eye glasses, dental work and medicine.

“We have done a project every two years from 2009, 2011 and 2014 on our own, and this year is the first one as a non-profit organization,” he said.

De Burgos said the outlook for his home country remains bleak economically. He said jobs are sparse since the resources of his country were privatized, concentrating the wealth those resources generate in the hands of fewer people.

“Resource development would provide employment and the financial resources for social programs. But one of the conditions of receiving funding from the World Bank was for the country’s resources to be privatized. They are controlled now by foreigners and that is very sad to see,” he said.

De Burgos plans to take a year sabbatical from teaching at UBCO in Costa Rica, where he hopes to spend some of his time working on more community projects for Central American countries.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

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